Vermicelli is very fine, long strands of pasta – like a skinny spaghetti – often used in soups. The name means ‘little worms’ in Italian (though in America, it is described more ethereally 'angel hair' pasta). It is available fresh or dried.
Dried vermicelli is usually sold boxed in coiled nests to prevent the delicate strands from breaking. The term is also used to describe dried thin Asian rice noodles, which are sold in portioned bunches wrapped in paper.
Serve it with delicate oil-based or thin creamy sauces, as thick sauces will soak into the pasta and make it go soggy.
Rice vermicelli can be used in soups or stir-fries, served cold in spicy Asian salads, or used as the basis for some sweets.